PRESS BRIEFING BY THE UNITED NATIONS INFORMATION SERVICE
14 April 2023
Looming ration cuts for refugees in Chad
Pierre Honnorat, World Food Programme (WFP) Country Director for Chad, speaking from Ndjamena, stated that the WFP was once again extremely concerned about the funding challenges; USD 140 million was needed by the WFP for the next six months. Chad was surrounded by countries in crises and was currently hosting 600,000 refugees from Sudan, Niger, Cameroon, and the Central African Republic. In 2022, 90 percent of the refugees had not received even six months of assistance, which had led to increased malnutrition rates, violence in camps, and negative coping mechanisms. 2023 was another difficult year, as there was no funding to help refugees and other displaced people from May onwards. WFP was nonetheless hoping to reach at least 30 percent of those who are most in need, stressed Mr. Honnorat. Government of Chad needed international support with hosting the refugees, especially ahead of the upcoming lean season.
Responding to questions, Mr. Honnorat said that more than two million people in Chad had been estimated to be food insecure in 2022. Every two months, the WFP had to launch emergency appeals; more steady, consistent, and predictable funding was hence necessary. There were now more newly arrived Sudanese than Nigerien refugees, explained Mr. Honnorat. All 600,000 refugees should be empowered; they could, for example, be given land plots to exploit and thus become self-sustainable. There seemed to be goodwill on the part of the Government of Chad in this regard and return on such investments was encouraging. While the aid to Chad had increased in recent years, the needs had increased even more, thus creating gaps in funding. Mr. Honnorat explained that the largest donors included a number of European countries and the United States. More information about the WFP’s activities in Chad is available here.
Matthew Saltmarsh, for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), added that UNHCR was looking to raise USD 172.5 million this year to help one million forcibly displaced people in Chad; this appeal was currently only 15 percent funded. Mr. Saltmarsh underlined that Chad was far from being the only desperately underfunded emergency in Africa. UNHCR was fully supportive of development-based solutions as well as considering voluntary returns of refugees.
Black Sea Grain Initiative
Responding to questions from journalists, Alessandra Vellucci, for the United Nations Information Service (UNIS), said that inspections on grain-carrying ships had taken place on 13 April. The Joint Coordination Center had published information on its website. The United Nations was very determined to implement both the Memorandum of Understanding and the Black Sea Grain Initiative; discussions were going on. UN would not speculate about possible outcomes as the process was ongoing.
Catherine Huissoud, for the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), specified that six ships had been inspected on 13 April, which was an average number. She said that she would transmit the journalists’ interest for a press conference with the UNCTAD Secretary-General, Rebeca Grynspan.
Migrant crisis in the Mediterranean
Replying to a question, Matthew Saltmarsh, for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), said that UNHCR welcomed the additional funds the Government of Italy had decided to dedicate to migrants. Italy had recently experienced a massive increase in the influx of migrants, and the country should not bear this burden on its own. He emphasized that saving lives on the sea was both a long-standing maritime tradition and a legal obligation of States. A robust and reliable state-led search-and-rescue capacity in the Mediterranean ought to be established, said Mr. Saltmarsh.
Alessandra Vellucci, for the United Nations Information Service (UNIS), said that the UN had repeatedly expressed concern over perilous crossings of the Mediterranean, and referred to the need for safe migration as defined in the Global Compact for Migration.
Clare Nullis, for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), announced that on 21 April at 1 p.m., there would be a hybrid press conference to present the State of Global Climate 2022 report. Speakers would be Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary-General, and Omar Baddour, Chief of WMO Climate Monitoring and report coordinator. The report, which would be published ahead of the Earth Day, 22 April, was based on the input from a wide range of UN agencies.
Alessandra Vellucci, for the United Nations Information Service (UNIS), informed that the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination would conclude its review of the report of Niger this morning. It would continue its session the following week with the review of the reports of Argentina, Portugal, the Philippines, and Tajikistan.
The Committee against Torture would start its 76th session on 17 April, during which it would review the reports of Colombia, Brazil, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Kazakhstan, and Ethiopia.